1920s Lodge Surrounded by Great Smoky Mountains
The Blue Ridge Parkway twists and turns through the Great Balsam Mountains and reaches a height of more than 6,000 feet as it passes over Richland Balsam, the road’s highest point. Just a few minutes northwest of this point, Waynesville Inn Golf Resort and Spa sits directly amid the purple Appalachian ridges and ancient forests. The resort makes good use of its location—you can get 360-degree mountain views at three four-star golf courses that have attracted legends such as Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead.
You can see the golf greens from a garden-side table at the AAA Three Diamond–rated Cork & Cleaver restaurant, located on the first floor. Every morning, a breakfast buffet provides offerings such as southern-style grits and fresh seasonal fruit. Tuesday–Saturday, you can also use your $50 resort credit toward dinner from a seasonal menu with items such as sunburst rainbow trout on a bed of saffron risotto ($19) and a 12-ounce grilled Angus rib eye in a red wine demi-glace ($25). At the more casual Tap Room Sports Bar & Grill, you can join locals for fish ‘n’ chips ($11.95) and draft beers.
When you're not relaxing in rustic historic, located in the 1920s-era main lodge, or mountain-view rooms, located in a separate building, you can head to the Balsam Spa. Massage therapists perform soothing treatments such as the Tension Tamer, a concentrated massage devoted to the head, neck, back, and subconscious.
Waynesville, North Carolina: Historical Southern Town in Appalachian Valley
Waynesville is nestled between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, 30 miles west of Asheville. For up-close views of the region's beautiful mountainous terrain, hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile scenic drive that starts just 30 miles east of Waynesville and ends near Waynesboro, Virginia (both towns are named after Revolutionary War General “Mad” Anthony Wayne). The parkway branches out to more than 100 hiking trails, ranging from short footpaths to the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine.
In Waynesville, you'll find the town’s preserved commercial district, Frog Level. The district took off in the late 19th century, and furniture, hardware, and grocery stores thrived here well into the 1940s. You can find several art galleries featuring work inspired by the Appalachian Valley, including the metal sculptures at Grace Cathey’s Sculpture Garden and Gallery and woodworking and quilting displays at the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts.